I.T. (2016): A Modern Cautionary Tale (Review)

James Frecheville and Pierce Brosnan in I.T.

I.T. can be seen as a modern cautionary tale, but less so about who we allow into our world or house and more about the dangers of “Smart” houses.  Co-written by Dan Kay and William Wisher Jr., directed by John Moore (A Good Day to Die HardMax Payne) this American thriller was shot in Ireland and features an “international” cast.

The film is  not quite a “by the numbers” psycho thriller but it comes very close. Pierce Brosnan is Mike Regan, the owner of a fleet of jets that he plans to rent out to various companies to turn a profit. His opening brief gets a massive glitz and temporary I.T. guy Ed Porter (James Frecheville) fixes it quickly and efficiently. 

Regan is impressed enough that he invites the temporary employee to his smart home to boost the WiFi. His daughter Kaitlyn Regan (Stefanie Scott) sees Ed and takes a bit of a shine to him. Her mother Rose (Anna Friel) and Mike do not. 

Unfortunately, Mike allows Ed access to his smart controls, his car and hires the younger man as a full-time employee. Soon, however, Porter begins a concerted attack on Regan’s privacy. He stalks Kaitlyn and turns Regan’s own company into a liability with the SEC.

Any parent can empathize with Mike Regan when Porter targets his daughter and then later humiliates her with camera footage of her in the shower.  The businessman and father also gets our support later on when the stakes are increased to an insane degree.

However…

In terms of empathy, we do not like Regan. The man is not an endearing individual. Like many a self-made man he is not pleasant unless he wants something.

At the start of the film, he does befriend Ed only to turn against the unhinged man when he gets too close.  By the end of the film it is all too clear that much of what transpires could have been averted if only Regan had set up boundaries early on.

Porter tells his temporary boss that he was used by him. Ed is right. When the I.T. worker gave Regan what he wanted, the successful businessman was all smiles and he welcomed the younger man into his home.

Another message of this film could well be that one should be careful about who we attack.  Porter is a computer hacker extraordinaire. He infiltrates every aspect of Mike’s life. Regan ends up asking for help from a friend who recommends an “off the books” type.

The superb Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist plays Henrik, the expert who talks Mike Regan through recovering his information from Porter. The scenes involving this are very well done and the suspense is top notch.

After this point, however, the plot falls back on a premise that we have seen all too often. It does not spoil the film but it does take a few points off for lack of originality.

For all that, the film is entertaining if not a bit slow paced. It can be argued that the creeping storyline is necessary to build to the film’s climax but it could have been a tad faster.

Brosnan, who is not capable of turning in a bad performance, is perfect as the unpleasant businessman who has his family tortured by a mentally ill employee. Frecheville is adequate in a role that screams out for a younger Milo Ventimiglia. (Frecheville actually resembles Ventimiglia to a degree…)

Anna Friel was completely wasted as the little lady at home but Stefanie Scott turns in an excellent performance.  The cinematography looks brilliant. Rather interestingly, the cinematographer Ekkehart Pollack worked on Pathology, a Ventimiglia film.

I.T. is a solid 3.5 stars. The film can be seen on Netflix, or downloaded, and it is entertaining enough to warrant a look.

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Author: Michael Knox-Smith

World traveler, writer, actor, journalist. Cinephile who reviews films, television, books and interviews professionals in the industry. Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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